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    Resources — 2020 tacoma

    The History of The 3rd Generation Toyota Tacoma

    The History of The 3rd Generation Toyota Tacoma

    The Toyota Tacoma is a fantastic all-around truck that has been with us since 1995. As I’ve covered in my post about the history of the Toyota Tacoma, there have been plenty of changes over the years, and that brings us to our current generation: the third-generation Toyota Tacoma (2016 - Present).

    Development & 2016 Toyota Tacoma

    The third generation started officially with its reveal at the January 2015 Detroit Auto Show, but sales would not start until September of that year.

    Its design was heavily influenced by the styling of the 2014 4Runner and Tundra. Doing so brought over a more aggressive and chiseled look. With that look came a larger grille, projector-beam headlights, and a newly redesigned bed liner and tailgate featuring the name TACOMA tastefully presented.

    However, the truck isn’t all about looks. Mike Sweers was chief engineer for the 2016 Toyota Tacoma, and according to Auto Beat Online, he told his crew to “make it badass.” With wanting to continue the legacy of off-road power, Sweers went to Toyota’s headquarters in Japan to work with the “master driver” to basically drive up the side of a mountain in a prototype truck.

    The target market was young, adventure-seeking males. This explains the “masculine” styling and unique features such as an offering for a GoPro mount on the windshield. It was estimated at 45% of Tacoma owners actually took their trucks off-roading.

    Power-wise, Toyota ditched its old 4.0L V6 for a more powerful and fuel-efficient 3.5L V6. That brings the power up to 278 horsepower, which is 42 more horses, but it did drop one foot-pound of torque to 265. The 2.7L inline-four pretty much remained unchanged. A new six-speed transmission also was paired up with the engines.

    The interior took on a new look as well. A clean, sleek styling dash and controls were implemented. The seats were changed as well. Altogether, there are 29 different configurations possible. 

    2017 Toyota Tacoma

    2017 didn’t bring too many changes to the very popular truck.  The biggest would be the addition of the TRD Pro. While Toyota kept up with its offering of different trim models, it did decide to drop the PreRunner, and out came the TRD Pro to replace it.

    The TRD Pro was the most expensive model, and it was all about off-road. In addition to many cosmetic updates, you got Fox off-road suspension with front coilovers and remote reservoir rear shock absorbers, 1-inch suspension lift, TRD ¼ inch aluminum front skid plate, 16 inch Black TRD wheels offering a 1 inch wider track, a larger anti-sway bar, and exhaust. I go into more detail in my TRD difference post.

    2018 Toyota Tacoma

    A big grille update happened this year, especially for the lower trimmed SR and SR5. The TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road models got a darker mesh and an updated grille. There was also a new black leather-trimmed interior for the Tacoma Limited.

    As for powertrain, the two engine options remained, but the five-speed manual transmission was discontinued.  However, some trim levels still offered a six-speed manual.

    More safety features became standard across all trims which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with a sway warning system, automatic high beams, and high-speed dynamic radar cruise control. Prices did go up across the board as well, as one would expect with more standard features.

    2019 Toyota Tacoma

    Last year’s model jumped up to 32 different combination possibilities. Most of the design and performance elements are carried over from 2018 some notable updates include a new SX appearance package, a new TRD Pro desert air intake, available bilstein shocks, updated lane departure alert system, and an available multi-information display.

    PickupTrucks.com reported that there are a lot of changes that you can’t see. They reported a much quieter and smoother ride compared to previous models. Thicker glass, an improved rear suspension, and thicker insulation cut down on vibration and noise.

    2020 Toyota Tacoma

    While still being announced, the 2020 model is going to have some much-needed upgrades. I’ve done a few articles on the Tacoma versus other trucks, and the Tacoma is starting to fall behind in terms of technology and features. With the truck being on top for so long, there was almost no competition. Toyota is realizing that there is now, and things are changing for the better.

    To make it easier to read, here is a list of the changes courtesy of CJ Pony Parts based on updates from the Chicago Auto Show earlier this year.

    • 8-inch touchscreen (except for SR trim, which gets an upgraded 7-inch)
    • Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa Compatibility
    • 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat (including power lumbar support)
    • LED/DRL headlights (all trims besides SR)
    • Surround-view camera system (standard on higher trims, optional on all trims)
    • Revised grille
    • New and updated wheel designs
    • 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat (including power lumbar support)
    • LED bed lamp
    • Revised taillights with darker housings (SR and SR5 trims)
    • Multi-Terrain Monitor (on TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro, used to view obstacles under the truck)
    • Panoramic View Monitor (or PVM, which supplements backup camera with front, side, and rear angles)
    • Toyota Smart Key passive entry now works on passenger side door as well
    • The top-of-the-line off-roader TRD Pro adds lighter wheels, revised shocks, and a new Army Green color

    The Toyota Tacoma has come so far since the early days of 1995. It’s a truck we know and love. It’s very reliable, customizable, and versatile. Here’s to another 25 years! 

    Image Credits

    2016 - Courtesy of IIHS

    2017 - Courtesy of Toyota of Boerne

    2018 - Courtesy of Gear Patrol

    2019 - Courtesy of MotorTrend

    2020 - Courtesy of CNET